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Have you ever wondered whether God exists, whether Jesus really is God's Son, or whether the Bible is really true? If not, you are an unusual person. All people ask these questions at times. The purpose of this study is to examine the evidence for some of the most basic claims of the Bible.
What Claims Does the Bible Make?
>>> Read HEBREWS 11:6. <<<
*1* To please God, what must we believe? (a) whatever our parents taught us, (b) whatever our preacher says, (c) that God exists and rewards those who diligently seek Him. Answer (type the letter of the correct answer in the blank): ______.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).
>>> Read 2 TIMOTHY 3:16,17. <<<
*2* Where did the Scriptures come from? (a) they are inspired by God, (b) they express the opinions of men, (c) they are ancient legends of unknown origin. Answer: ______.
"...The things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 14:37). [See Eph. 3:3-5; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Thess. 2:13.]
>>> Read JOHN 20:26-31. <<<
*3&4* What did Thomas call Jesus? Answer (type the correct word[s] in each blank): My ______ and my ______.
*5&6* What must we believe in order to have eternal life? Answer: Jesus is the ______, the Son of ______.
"...we have heard for ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world" (John 4:42). [See also John 8:24; Luke 19:10; Matt. 16:15-18; 10:37; John 1:1,14.]
Note: these claims do not permit compromise. We cannot say, "The Bible is just a good book," or "Jesus was just a great man." The Bible claims it is God's word, and Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh. If these claims are not true, then Jesus is a liar and the Bible is a fraud!
What Kind of Evidence Will We Study?
God the Father is invisible (1 John 4:12). We cannot perform laboratory experiments to determine if He exists, but this does not mean we must accept "blind faith" without evidence. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh. His life can be investigated like any other historical fact. Likewise, many other claims of the Bible can be investigated by logical and historical evidence.
In our daily lives, all of us determine our beliefs on the basis of this kind of evidence. For example, a hunter may not see an animal, but from its footprints he knows it exists and he knows much about its nature. In the same way, God has left "footprints on the sands of time."
A judge and jury do not physically observe a crime, yet they reach a verdict about what happened by the testimony of witnesses.
>>> Read ACTS 14:17. <<<
*7* God did not leave Himself without what? (a) people, (b) witness, (c) time, (d) money. Answer: ______.
Let us call God's "witnesses," and you be the judge. Weigh the testimony honestly, then reach a verdict (Rom. 10:17), but remember that you are not determining the guilt or innocence of someone else. Rather, your verdict will determine your own eternal destiny!
No one can deny the existence of the universe. The question is: what is the origin of the universe?
Only two explanations are available: (1) there is an all-wise, all-powerful God who created it; or (2) matter is eternal and, beginning from an original simple life form, all living things developed gradually over millions of years by process of evolution. Consider which of these two views best fits the evidence.
A. Life Comes Only from Life.
>>> Read ACTS 17:24-28. <<<
*8* What does this verse say is the origin of life? (a) life on earth has always existed, (b) an unplanned accident of nature produced the first primitive life by spontaneous generation in an ancient swamp, (c) life on earth was created by a living, wise, powerful God. Answer: ______.
One of the most firmly established laws of science is the Law of Biogenesis, which says that life comes only from living things. There is no evidence that dead matter can spontaneously generate life.
The Bible agrees with scientific fact, for it says that life came from the eternal, living Creator (cf. Acts 14:15). However, evolution contradicts scientific proof, since it requires that dead matter sometime spontaneously came to life. Which view best fits the evidence?
B. Living Things Reproduce after Their Own Kind.
>>> Read GENESIS 1:11,21,24,25. <<<
*9* What kind of offspring do living things have? (a) the same kind as the parents, (b) with enough time, entirely different things may evolve, (c) you never know. Answer: ______.
Every year millions of living things reproduce, and the offspring is always the same kind as the parent. This is exactly what the Bible says. The offspring of dogs will be other dogs, not fish, birds, or people!
Evolution, however, teaches that all the present kinds are the offspring of previous different kinds, all the way back to one original life-form. But there is no convincing evidence for this. Living things adapt to their environment, but where is the proof that they produce totally different kinds of living things (fish to reptile to bird, etc.)?
If evolution was true, there should be many fossils of intermediate "links" between present kinds of living things. However, the "links" are still missing!
C. The Human Race Is Unique.
>>> Read GENESIS 1:26-28. <<<
*10* Man is created in whose image? Answer: In the image of ______.
*11* Man has dominion over what? (a) fish, (b) birds, (c) animals, (d) earth, (e) all the preceding. Answer: ______.
Simple observation shows that man is far above the animals.
Only man has rational intelligence. What animal uses abstract symbols (letters and numbers) to speak, write, or do mathematical calculations? What animal invents new tools and machines, trains animals, uses fire, or records wisdom to pass on to future generations?
Among animals there are many shades of intelligence. If man evolved from animals, why are there no animals with shades of intelligence right up to ours, instead of so vast a gulf?
Only man creates new beauty to appreciate in the form of music, art, poetry, humor, etc.
Only man has a conscience and sense of religious values. What animal by nature feels a sense of guilt or seeks to find and worship the cause of its existence?
If man evolved from animals, how do we explain these vast differences? If we develop new characteristics according to "survival of the fittest," how does appreciation of art, etc., make us more fit to survive?
The Bible, however, easily explains all these differences. Man shares these characteristics in common, not with the animals, but with God in whose image we were made.
D. Design Must Come from a Designer.
>>> Read ROMANS 1:20. <<<
*12* How can we see the power and Deity (Godhead) of God? Answer: We see them by the things God ______.
>>> Read PSALMS 19:1. <<<
*13* What do the heavens declare? Answer: The heavens declare the ______ of God.
When an intelligent being designs something to accomplish some purpose, that thing bears the marks of intelligence - it is intelligible. Other intelligent beings can study how it works, etc. Even if we have never met the maker, we know he must exist and we can appreciate the degree of his intelligence.
To confirm this concept to yourself, take this test. Try to name one thing that has these characteristics: (1) It appeals to your intelligence - it "makes sense" as a logical, reasonable way to accomplish some purpose. But, (2) you know it did not originate as the effort of some intelligent being - it "just happened" by blind chance. Can you name any such thing? A car? house? bridge?
Cameras are designed by intelligent beings, but no camera can match the overall performance of the human eye. Where did your eyes come from?
Computers are made by intelligent beings, but the human brain can surpass computers in many ways. Where did your brain come from?
Factories are made by intelligent beings to manufacture a product. But who made the human reproductive system?
>>> Read HEBREWS 3:4. <<<
*14* As a house must have a maker, who ultimately built all things? Answer: The ultimate maker of all things is ______.
When you consider all the organs of the human body, then all the other plants and animals, the heavenly bodies, and all the complex laws of nature, is it reasonable to argue that all this came without intelligent planning?
Science is founded on the conviction that the universe is intelligible - it is so orderly and systematic that the human intelligence is able to grasp much about its working. Doesn't this, of itself, prove that an intelligent Being invented it? And doesn't the fact that much of its working is beyond our ability to understand and to duplicate, prove that the intelligent Being who made it is far superior to us?
Every effect must have an adequate cause! Evolution says that life began by blind chance and then random mutations produced all advanced life forms. The Bible, however, says that the all-wise, all-powerful, living God intentionally planned and created the universe and all the life forms in it. As you reach your verdict, you must determine which view is more reasonable and best fits the evidence.
*15* Every effect must have an adequate what? Answer: ______.
Although the Bible is a textbook on religion, it often touches on other subjects such as history, geography, or science. It was written 2000-3500 years ago, when scientific error abounded. Skeptics have searched it mercilessly to disprove it. But if, despite this, we find that it contains none of the common errors of its day - if it actually speaks truths that were unknown to scientists till centuries later - then this should strengthen our confidence that it is not from men but from God.
Consider the following examples in which the Bible has been proved to be accurate, even when "scholars" disagreed with it.
A. History and Geography
>>> Read 2 SAMUEL 11:3. <<<
*16* Uriah was of what nationality? Answer: Uriah was a ______.
The Bible often mentions Hittites (Gen. 15:19-21; Num. 13:29; Josh. 3:10), but for years skeptics said the Bible was wrong. Then in 1906, Hugo Winckler excavated Hattusa, the Hittite capital. We now know that, at its height, the Hittite civilization rivaled Egypt and Assyria in glory! (See Biblical World, pp. 290ff.)
>>> Read EXODUS 1:11. <<<
*17&18* Name the two cities the Israelites built in Egypt. Answer: They built ______ and ______.
The Bible says that Israelite slaves built these cities using bricks of clay mixed with straw, then clay and stubble, then clay alone (Exodus 5:10-21). In 1883, Naville examined the ruins of Pithom and found all three types of brick. (See Biblical World, pp. 458,459.)
Sir William Ramsay was a skeptic who sought to disprove Acts by tracing Paul's journeys. Instead, his studies converted him! The turning point came when he proved that, contrary to accepted views, the Bible was right when it implied Iconium was in a different region from Lystra and Derbe (Acts 14:6). (See Archaeology and Bible History, Free, p. 317.)
"...it may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries." - Dr. Nelson Glueck (Rivers in the Desert, p. 31)
"...archaeology has confirmed countless passages which have been rejected by critics as unhistorical or contradictory to known facts ... Yet archaeological discoveries have shown that these critical charges ... are wrong and that the Bible is trustworthy in the very statements which have been set aside as untrustworthy ... We do not know of any cases where the Bible has been proved wrong." - Dr. Joseph P. Free (Archaeology and Bible History, pp. 1,2,134)
>>> Read ISAIAH 40:22. <<<
*19* What is the shape of the earth? (a) circle, (b) flat, (c) cylinder. Answer: ______.
Isaiah wrote this when men thought the earth was flat ("circle" = "a circle, sphere" - Gesenius). Today we have pictures taken from space to show the earth's shape, but how did Isaiah know?
>>> Read JOB 26:7. <<<
*20* How is the earth held up? Answer: The earth hangs on ______.
Ancient men believed many errors. How did Job know the truth?
>>> Read PSALM 8:8. <<<
*21* Fish pass through what in the seas? Answer: They swim or pass through the ______ of the seas.
Men knew of no paths in the sea until Matthew Maury read this verse. He searched till he discovered the ocean currents, and became known as the Father of Oceanography. (Impact, 9/91, pp. 3,4).
>>> Read ECCLESIASTES 1:7. <<<
*22* What does this verse tell us about rivers? (a) rivers run to the sea, (b) the sea does not get fuller, (c) rivers go back where they were before, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.
Today we understand how this happens by the water cycle and evaporation. How did Solomon know?
The Bible has contradicted unproved theories, but properly understood it has never contradicted any proved scientific fact. Yet it has often stated scientific truths centuries before men knew them.
While the Bible has been repeatedly proved accurate, those who criticize the Bible have been consistently unable to disprove it. This surely strengthens our faith in other Bible teachings.
(To be continued in lesson 2.)
(These questions are for you to ponder. Your answers will help us understand your thinking, however they will not affect your "score.")
*23* Do you believe that the hypothesis of evolution agrees with the Bible? __________
*24* What is your reaction to the evidence in the lesson showing the accuracy of the Bible in history, geography, and science? _________
*25* Which view do you believe agrees best with what we observe in nature: evolution or creation? _________
(C) Copyright David E. Pratte, 1999 biblestudylessons.com
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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.